I bring a boxful from another planet, wash them under cold
water in a white sink, wipe the skin with care, cut lengthwise
with a paring knife, keep peel intact. If my mother were here,
she would grab the fleshy pit and devour the ambrosial
flesh, juice running down her arms. It reminds me of my grand
uncle in his white crumpled shirt, blanched grey peppered hair,
his laughter showed a paan-stained tongue as he brought crates
of fruit each summer. Perhaps I will decorate the front door
with a string of the leaves like my father did. Or chop the unripe
ones into triangles, pickle them with mustard oil, salt,
fenugreek, red pepper as my hands become my grandmothers’.

I tell this story to my girls, of how difficult it was to climb
the tough textured tree, standing under its blossoms
in searing heat and think of golden pulp in a steel bowl.

Srinivas Mandavilli is a pathologist in Hartford, CT. He is the author of a chapbook (Gods in the Foyer, Antrim House) and has had poems published in several journals.